The 50th Anniversary Of The JFK Assassination In Dallas Could Be A Real Firestorm In 2013
Photos By Craig Hlavaty
The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is November 22, 2013.
This year, the anniversary falls on Thanksgiving Day, last falling on Turkey Day back in 2007.
Our sister paper the Dallas Observer has been covering the fight between conspiracy theorists, vendors, and a Dallas committee over perceived plans to clamp down kooks and nuts during next year's events at the site of the assassination.
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The JFK 50th committee, made up of high-profile business and community leaders from Dallas, has been created to plan exactly what will happen next year, and what the official narrative will be.
The Sixth Floor Museum has agreed to give up their usual anniversary foothold to give the committee room. The museum, housed inside the former Texas School Book Depository, is a must for anyone visiting Dealey Plaza, if just for the artifacts and location.
The committee includes Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas, various politicians, some philanthropists, museum staff, and like you know, rich people.
The tone of the event will be "serious, respectful, understated," according to the committee.
No fireworks, moonwalks, or balloons, or even food trucks, I guess.
If you have ever visited the grounds on the anniversary, you know that it is filled with people selling things -- books, pamphlets -- on the assassination and the conspiracy theories that abound. There are some stragglers hanging out the rest of the year too, but they aren't as prevalent.
I have been visiting Dallas' Dealey Plaza, The Grassy Knoll, and the Sixth Floor Museum every November 22 since 2005 -- holidays be damned -- when I made my first trip after a whole life of reading and watching everything I could on the assassination.
Every visit to the area where the shootings occurred is a somber one. There is a moment of quiet at the time when the shots rang out, and there are flowers and other trinkets laid on the plaque that sits feet away from the "X" that marks the location of the first shot.
(Cue the John Williams score....)
And now Dallas' upper-crust are helping steer the official narrative of the day and the events, including the aftermath.
People like authors Robert Groden and Jim Maars are not happy at all. Anyone who is a keen JFK assassination buff will know those names.
An integral part of the visit to Dealey Plaza for me has always been talking and listening to these sorts of folks wax on and on about the shootings of Kennedy and Governor John Connally, and the aftermath. The verbal exchanges, the theories, and the personalities and witnesses from 1963 that show up make the day colorful. Even seeing Alex Jones screaming into a bullhorn is fun.
Observer blogger Jim Schutze has been covering the goings on at Dealey Plaza for Unfair Park, the paper's news blog.
As he notes in a recent blog:
The overwhelming message of The Sixth Floor Museum exhibit is, "Case closed, show's over, return to your homes." And somebody doesn't want anyone getting off message when the news crews are here.
I know I will be in Dallas next year on the 22nd, but I doubt that the experience will be the same as my previous eight. Surely this will just blow over and the 51st anniversary will find everything back to normal.
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